The Importance of Visual Closure

What is visual closure and why does it matter? To begin, we’ll address eyesight. Vision is much more than seeing 20/20. There are many additional components that the visual system is responsible for and a breakdown in any area can cause problems with learning and development. 

What is this word?

Most of us can decipher it easily, even with the missing pieces. This is because even when we are unable to see an object in its entirety, our brains fill in what’s missing based on past information. This is what is called “visual closure.” It is the ability to identify or perceive a whole image, form, or object when we only see part of it. Imagine trying to put together a puzzle without being able to visualize the missing parts of the picture. It would be difficult and frustrating, and not very enjoyable.

For a child who has trouble with visual closure, it is a struggle to identify sight words. This can make comprehension difficult. Most of us can read a word as a whole – some of us can even read short sentences in one glance. Children who struggle with visual closure have difficulty reading because they have to look at and process each and every letter in a word. Sounding out words is a much less efficient way of reading. Not only does this make reading slow and painful, it makes it very difficult to comprehend and visualize the material. 

Visual closure issues are often contributing to a child struggling to identify sight words, even when they should be familiar. We take for granted being able to quickly see a word and recognizing it without needing to identify each individual letter. Visual closure skills play a role in math as well, helping us to recognize quantities without counting or seeing numbers or math problems as a whole, without having to look at each digit separately.

Do you think your child might be falling behind? Most of us have gotten some extra one-on-one time with our children and their schoolwork over the last few months. If you noticed that reading was slow or comprehension was difficult, it might be time to have a comprehensive eye exam to be sure that your child’s entire visual system is working properly and not holding them back in school.


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